How does comparative negligence influence my personal injury claim in Daytona Beach?

Daytona Beach, FL –  Florida uses what is known as the pure comparative negligence rule to determine what damages you can recover following a car accident. This is very useful as it allows drivers to get at least some damages if they were partly to blame for the accident. However, if you don’t have a good grasp on Florida traffic laws, the insurance company can offer you a ridiculously small compensation, or deny your claim altogether using the comparative negligence rule against you. If you were involved in a car or truck accident and the circumstances are unclear, it is advisable to talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer in Daytona Beach before filing a claim. 

What is comparative negligence?

Most states use some type of comparative negligence rule. In Florida, the pure comparative negligence rule says that you can still get damages for a crash even if you were partly to blame, but your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault.

In other words, if you are injured in an accident and your total damages are calculated at $100,000 you will only get $90,000 if it is established that you were 10% to blame for what happened. 

In other states you cannot collect damages if you were more than 50% to blame for the accident. In Florida you can, even if you are 60% (or more) to blame. You can get 40% in damages. Unfortunately, the other driver who was only 40% to blame for the crash can and will probably sue you for damages.

If you have a no-fault insurance, you can recover damages to the amount you have coverage and sue the other driver for the rest.

How is blame for an accident decided?

If you file a claim with the insurance company, it is the job of the insurance adjuster to assign percentages of blame. If you go to court, it will be up to the judge or jury.

Either way, you need a skilled personal injury lawyer to help you at this point. The insurance company has no interest in paying you damages, especially if you have sustained severe injuries and need a lot of money. The adjuster will try everything legal or less so to raise your percentage of fault so you get very little money. 

The insurer adjuster will conduct an investigation into the crash, using the police report, eyewitness testimonies, photos, and various algorithms to assign blame to the drivers involved. You cannot fight algorithms, but your lawyer can submit evidence showing that you were not to blame or your own fault was only very small.

As a rule, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, never admit fault. Not to the other driver and especially not to the insurance adjuster. If you mention you were just a bit distracted at the time of the crash, the adjuster might use that to exaggerate your percentage at fault claiming you weren’t paying any attention to the road. 

If you were recently injured in an accident in the Daytona Beach area, schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer at Pappas & Russell PA

Contact info

Pappas & Russell PA

213 Silver Beach Avenue

Daytona Beach, Florida 32118

Phone: (386) 254-2941


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